Howlong schoolgirl and cancer survivor Ella McMahon creates mosaic artwork for Good Friday Appeal Art Auction and High Tea at Howlong on Sunday, November 27, 2016

ART WITH HEART: Good Friday Appeal Howlong area manager Cassandra Beddows and art auction co-organiser Val Kimber with Ella McMahon, 9, who will donate an artwork to the Art Auction and High Tea. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE
ART WITH HEART: Good Friday Appeal Howlong area manager Cassandra Beddows and art auction co-organiser Val Kimber with Ella McMahon, 9, who will donate an artwork to the Art Auction and High Tea. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

ELLA McMahon is one of the few tweens told to break stuff.

She can smash up a table-full of tiles with a hammer in just a couple of minutes.

The Howlong schoolgirl, 9, learnt to make mosaics in art therapy at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, where she spent most of 2016 undergoing treatment for cancer.

“It’s fun smashing the tiles with a hammer,” she said.

“I like choosing the colours to put on my work; when I’m making the art it’s fun and it’s also quiet.”

Ella’s mum Kristy McMahon, herself a cancer survivor, said art therapy had helped Ella get through the tough regime of chemotherapy and multiple surgeries.

“When she was doing chemotherapy and not feeling great she pretty much slapped paint on the page but when she was feeling better she made dioramas,” Ms McMahon said.

“It’s what makes the difference between having a completely miserable stay in hospital and having things to look forward to; children’s author Alison Lester came to the hospital and taught Ella how to do watercolours.”

Ms McMahon said 12 months ago on November 13 they took Ella to the physiotherapist with a sore leg, only to find out it was bone cancer.

She said X-rays revealed a large mass on her femur and within two hours they had a likely cancer diagnosis.

“It was the worst day of our lives and since then she has been to hell and back,” she said.

“But she is back at (Howlong Public) school, walking on her frame, standing on her own and back to her bright and happy self.” 

Together with husband Matt and Ella’s brother Rory, 8, Ms McMahon said they felt grateful to have Ella home again.

“She’s always been a bright and easy-going girl and it’s amazing how resilient she has been,” she said.

“Already she’s playing handball from her wheelchair with her friends at school and she’s doing school swimming.

“When she’s in the water she’s no different to the other kids; she can do a handstand!

“We’re lucky to live in a community like Howlong where people are really supportive and caring.”

Ella will donate a mosaic bird bath to a Howlong fundraiser for The Good Friday Appeal, which supports The Royal Children’s Hospital.

The Art Auction and High Tea will be held at Howlong Golf Resort on Sunday from 2pm.

About 20 Border artists – including Vicki McKoy and Jenny Whitford – have donated watercolours, photographs and paintings.

Ella will also speak at the event about her experiences at The Royal Children’s Hospital this year.

For tickets phone Howlong Golf Resort on (02) 6026 5321 or buy them at the door.

This story Many pieces make magic first appeared on The Border Mail.